A mostly archaeological-related blog, but I also occasionally post photographs, wildlife/conservation related things, and other stuff I find interesting and/or important. A bit of variety's good for you!
Dun Carloway broch (Gaelic - Dùn Chàrlabhaigh), Isle of Lewis, Scotland
Dun Carloway is one of the best surviving brochs in Scotland, standing up to 9m tall on it’s eastern side. Brochs are an unusual architecture type, distinctly Scottish and Iron Age in date, and are found mainly in the north of the mainland (though a few crop up in the south too), and in the Hebridean, Orcadian and Shetland isles.They’re essentially drystone towers, the tallest of which - Shetland’s Mousa broch - is 13m high. As no brochs survive completely, archaeologists are unsure of how they would have been roofed, but speculations range from thatch to timber to no roofing at all. The last theory is probably not true for most brochs, as anyone who’s been to Scotland knows the weather is depressingly wet and windy for 11 months of the year, and if the broch-builders were canny enough to build drainage systems, a roof would have been easy as pie. However, some brochs seem to indicate that rooflessness wouldn’t have been a problem.
The purpose of brochs is also hotly contested. Whilst often located in defensive strategic positions, and with small entrances that would hinder a quick entry, their effectiveness as strongholds would have been limited by the lack of long-term supplies of food or water. A siege on a broch would probably not last very long. They may have been symbolic displays of power, however, and used as housing for families of importance in a community. They’re definitely enigmatic and imposing structures, whatever their purpose.
Trivia: the recent Pixar film Brave undoubtedly took inspiration for the kingdom’s name - DunBroch - from these magnificent buildings. Awesome!